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CMS Releases Final E-Prescribing Standards in Medicare

PCMA: E-Prescribing is 'Ready to Go'

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The issuing of final electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) standards in Medicare by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) further highlights the importance of requiring that doctors use the technology in Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today.

"The time is now for e-prescribing in Medicare. Today will be remembered as a major step in the drive for health IT reform," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. "E-prescribing is ready to go."

CMS estimates that adoption of e-prescribing would reduce adverse drug events (ADEs); provide increased administrative savings to physicians and pharmacists; and enhance generic utilization. The e-prescribing standards in Medicare were developed and pilot-tested during a rigorous process with consensus from a variety of influential health care stakeholders. The final e-prescribing rule establishes standards for four types of information:

-- Formulary and benefits;

-- Medication history;

-- Fill status notification; and

-- Identification of health care providers.

In December, the bipartisan "Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007" that would require e-prescribing in Medicare was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Members John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Ensign, (R-Nev.). Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Allyson Schwartz, (D-Penn.) and Jon Porter, (R-Nev.). Both bills are supported by a broad coalition of consumers, unions, businesses, purchaser groups, and other prescription drug stakeholders.

Last year, as part of its campaign to require e-prescribing in Medicare, PCMA launched a TV ad featuring Institute of Medicine (IOM) expert panelist J. Lyle Bootman that called on policymakers to require e-prescribing in Medicare "before more people die." Dr. Bootman co-chaired an IOM committee that recommended that all physicians begin using e-prescribing by 2010 to help reduce the estimated 1.5 million preventable medication errors that occur in the United States annually. According to the IOM, each year some 7,000 people die from medication errors. Unfortunately, fewer than one-in-ten physicians currently use life-saving e-prescribing technology.

PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 210 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D.

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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